Every Stranger's Face I See

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Last weekend Dann and I drove out to Snoqualmie Falls, in part because we’d heard it was beautiful and also because it was 85 degrees outside all weekend, which meant it was borderline life-threatening in our apartment. We snapped a few pictures of the waterfall and had brunch at the hotel restaurant there. Then we drove back to our neighborhood and saw the movie Boyhood, which put me over the homesick edge. I was miserably sad for the next 24 hours. I think it’s finally sunk in that we’re not on a trip, that this is where we live now. And as much as I believe we’re in Seattle for the right reasons and that there are good things for us here, I miss the place I still think of as home. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss the mountains. I miss the way a Lamar’s cake donut is perfectly soft and delicious on the inside but just a little crispy-crunchy on the bottom because the air is so dry in Denver.  

I miss this little girl like crazy:

I've been surprised by the realization that leaving the place I've known as home for the first time ever at age 32 is not easy - in fact, it’s been much harder than I anticipated. I’ve only been here for three months, so I know a lot can happen (and I trust that it will), but lately I've been having a hard time imagining a life here that's as good as the life I knew in Denver. I suppose you could say I’m grieving.

And because sometimes I am a drama queen, on the hardest days I watch this and just cry and cry:

The good news is we get to visit Colorado in just over a week and we'll be able to spend time with some of the people I've been missing most. There's something about knowing the trip is on the calendar that makes me feel a little bit more hopeful about being here now.

I came across a tweet from Donald Miller yesterday that said, "Every healthy thing grows and changes. Nothing stays the same unless it's dead. Let's stop resisting change. God invented change." So while I might be sad for a little while longer, I'm glad to know that growing through all this change is a good indication that I'm healthy and that I'm alive.     

Discuss

It's the last Friday of August and I think this has been the weirdest summer of my life. It feels like it's been forever since I left Denver, but it's only been a couple of months. We get to visit in just a few weeks and I can't wait to be there. And I may have to listen to it on the radio, but obviously I'll be rooting for the Buffs in tonight's CU vs. CSU game. Man, I miss Colorado today. Anyway, here are some of my favorite things from The Internet lately - just for you. Enjoy!

I have high hopes for this movie. The book was outstanding.

This is fascinating.

One of the coolest ice bucket challenges I've seen.

"This is exasperating!" Hilarious.

These are some of the coolest people we've met in Seattle. Give if you can!

If you're not watching Bob's Burgers, you're missing out. Honestly.

Have At It: Garlic Cheese Bread + Croutons

My dad is a weeper.

I’m not sure when it started, but for as long as I can remember he’s been the kind of guy who gets teary over everything from the moment the bus driver moved the bus at the end of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to the moment he first heard the news that he was going to be a grandpa. It’s one of my favorite things about him: that he’s not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve.

I’ve been saving these two recipes for August because it’s the month of my birth and I sort of feel like if you’re going to eat this much bread and butter and cheese in one sitting, it better be because you’re celebrating something major. My dad always makes these croutons and this bread with his chicken caesar salad, and for most of my life this meal was what I requested for my birthday dinner.

When my siblings and I were kids, my parents always made sure that our birthdays were extra special occasions. Every year, first thing in the morning, there were gifts and a birthday card on the kitchen table and most years there were parties with cake and ice cream and family and friends. We weren't rich, but my mom and dad always made sure that birthdays felt like celebrations.

One year - I was eight or nine - we took a summertime family vacation to Breckenridge, where I fell in love with a pair of teddy bears in a souvenir shop. They were dressed as a bride and groom, and grossly overpriced. I pleaded to have both, but my parents said no. They told me to choose just one, because that was all we could afford. I picked the bride because she was prettier, but I just knew she would be lonely.

When my birthday rolled around later that summer, the one gift I remember opening was the teddy bear groom, which my mom had snuck back to the shop to buy. I was so excited when I realized what it was, my overjoyed reaction brought tears to my dad's eyes. I can still remember how special I felt.

Croutons

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of butter, melted

1/4 cup of olive oil

Minced garlic to taste (1-2 cloves)

1 loaf of dense bread like sourdough (day-old is best), chopped into 1 inch cubes

1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese

Garlic salt to taste

Seasoned salt to taste

Directions:

1. Combine the butter, oil, and minced garlic.

2. Pour half of the butter mixture over the bread and toss it, then pour the other half and toss it again.

2. Coat the bread in parmesan cheese and toss it again.

3. Coat the bread in paprika and toss it again.

4. Season the bread with garlic salt and seasoned salt and toss it one last time.

5. Spread the bread into an even layer on a baking sheet and bake at 275-300 for 90-120 minutes. According to my dad: "The idea is to dry em out and brown em." So that's what you're looking for.

 

Garlic Cheese Bread 

Ingredients:

1 stick of butter, melted

2 cloves of minced garlic

1 loaf of French or sourdough bread, sliced in half lengthwise

1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup of shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Butter it and bake at 300 for 15 min

Directions

1) Mix the butter and garlic, cover it, and refrigerate overnight.

2) Butter both sides of the bread and bake it at 300 for 15 minutes.

3) Mix the two cheeses together and sprinkle on the bread, making sure to go all the way to the edges.

4) Put the bread back in the oven for 15 more minutes. The cheese should bubble, but not get brown.

5) Let the bread sit for at least 5-10 minutes before slicing it. According to my dad: "It'll just goo apart if you try to cut it right away." (I believe "goo apart" is a term borrowed from the French.)  

One of my goals for 2014 is to write one “Have At It” post per month, to include a story from my dad’s life with one of his recipes. I figure if nothing else, it will give me some motivation to get serious about getting my dad’s stories down, even if I have to write them myself. 

Previous Have At It Posts:

Chicken Caesar Salad

Reese's Rice Krispie Treats

Tacos and Salsa

Dutchbabies

Bean Dip Poppers

Goldrush Cookies

These Are My People

When we decided to make the trek to Chipotle for lunch after church on Sunday, I was excited. I hadn't eaten Chipotle since before leaving Denver over two months ago, and I was craving a burrito. Just as we were finishing up our lunch, Casey Askew (of So You Think You Can Dance fame) walked in and stood in line. I contemplated leaving without saying anything to him, but I knew my sisters would never let me live it down if I did. I sent a group text to my two sisters, my cousin Calee, and our friend Janell, hoping they'd peer pressure me into talking to him. The following is what transpired.

Me: You guys. Casey is in the same Chipotle as me RIGHT NOW.

Calee: SHUT YOUR FACE!!!!! Can you take a photo?!?

Janell: sytycd Casey?!!?

Calee: I'm watching him dance RIGHT NOW!

Janell: ask him to turn for you; ask him what Cat Deeley smells like

Calee: And then video it!!

Amy: OMG be a superfan!!!!!!!! Take a pic!!!

Janell: Ask him to get Ade's number for me!!!

Kate: yessshhhhg Take a pic!!!!!

Calee: I'm so jealous!!

Janell: Why isn't he in LA? I'm so confused? Is #caseyheadedwest?

Amy: Ask him how Twitch does it and if he can please steal Mary Murphy's pinky ring for me.

Janell: I LOVE US!!!!!

Calee: AND CASEYYYYYYY!!

Janell: Jenny you have to respond!! What is happening?? Are you getting a blog worthy story?!?!?

Calee: This long pause from Jenny better have a great outcome.

Kate: Please Lord get a pic!!! #sundayselfie

Calee: If he is dancing in Chipotle and you are not filming it, I will be so sad.

Calee: Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!

Kate: Omggggaaaaaaaaaaahhhh

Me: He's from Seattle, just home for a couple days, then back to LA for the finale, then on tour!!! He was so sweet!

Janell: Your face is so amazing!!!! bahahahahahaha! This is the best!!!

Kate: Yes this is the best!!!!

I think what I actually said to Casey was: "Are you Casey? I'm a huge fan. Way to go this season. And in your whole life. You're a star." So not only did I get to eat a Chipotle burrito for lunch, I got to meet a dance superstar and share my excitement with some of my favorite ladies. It was a good day.  

Oh, and be sure to watch the season 11 finale! Tomorrow on Fox at 8/7 central.